Temporal Memory in Foraging of the Stingless Bee Melipona subnitida (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini)


  • Albeane Guimarães Silva Programa de Pós-Graduação Biodiversidade e Biotecnologia da Rede Bionorte, São Luís, MA, Brasil; Programa de Pós Graduação de Biodiversidade e Conservação - Universidade Federal do Maranhão; Laboratório de Estudos sobre Abelhas, Universidade Federal do Maranhão, São Luís - MA, Brasil
  • Gracy Chrisley Alencar Carvalho Programa de Pós Graduação de Biodiversidade e Conservação - Universidade Federal do Maranhão; Laboratório de Estudos sobre Abelhas, Universidade Federal do Maranhão, São Luís - MA, Brasil
  • Ana Catarina de Miranda Programa de Pós-Graduação em Biodiversidade e Conservação, Universidade Federal do Maranhão, São Luís - MA, Brasil; Programa de Pós-Graduação em Neurociências e Comportamento, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém - PA, Brasil
  • Felipe Andrés León Contrera Laboratório de Biologia e Ecologia de Abelhas, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal do Pará, Belém - PA, Brasil
  • Márcia Maria Corrêa Rêgo Programa de Pós-Graduação Biodiversidade e Biotecnologia da Rede Bionorte, São Luís, MA, Brasil; Programa de Pós Graduação de Biodiversidade e Conservação - Universidade Federal do Maranhão; Laboratório de Estudos sobre Abelhas, Universidade Federal do Maranhão, São Luís - MA, Brasil




Food-anticipatory activity, food resource, inspectors, reactivated, individual consistency, foragers


Bees feed on nectar and pollen, however these resources are often available to floral visitors during restricted temporal windows. The presence of temporal memory is an advantage, as foragers can save energy by scheduling their flight activity to coincide with peaks of nectar secretion in the flowers or at times of higher sugar concentration in the nectar. Thus, the objectives of this study were (i) to investigate whether Melipona subnitida has temporal memory, and evaluate whether it becomes more accurate over the days, and (ii) to determine whether the behavior of anticipating the offered resource presents intra-individual consistency in the behavior of foragers. The visitation of the bees was high before and during the opening interval of the food resource, but rare after the closing, suggesting that M. subnitida has the ability to memorize the time of availability of the resource, increasing the accuracy over the days, with bees anticipating their visits in relation to the time they discovered the resource, and the opening time of the resource. There was individual consistency in the behavior of food-anticipatory activity, with the presence of bees that consistently anticipated in relation to the opening time of the resource (inspectors) and bees that consistently did not anticipate (reactivated forager) . By anticipating the search for a resource, foragers allow the group to exploit it effectively, as they exploit it in the first hours of its opening, and foragers that never anticipate avoid unnecessary risks of predation and energy expenditure.


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How to Cite

Guimarães Silva, A., Carvalho, G. C. A., de Miranda, A. C., Contrera, F. A. L., & Rêgo, M. M. C. (2021). Temporal Memory in Foraging of the Stingless Bee Melipona subnitida (Hymenoptera: Apidae: Meliponini). Sociobiology, 68(2), e5863. https://doi.org/10.13102/sociobiology.v68i2.5863



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